Six years ago President Barack Obama imposed an unnecessary ban on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which left tens of thousands of Louisiana oil and gas workers and service sector employees out of jobs and nearly devastated our state’s economy.
Today, we are facing a new moratorium, but this time the threat is not emanating from Washington. It comes from one of our own.
Throughout his campaign last year, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards repeatedly sought and received support from the oil and gas industry—even running TV ads saying that he would “fight to bring back oil and gas jobs and make sure we have a thriving energy industry for years to come.”
In spite of those promises, we now know that much like Pres. Obama, Gov. Edwards is no friend to our industry.
In fact, the Edwards Administration has put the oil and natural gas industry in the crosshairs of its lawsuit-agenda almost from day one.
Edwards’ quiet war on oil recently came into public view when the governor hired a team of his top campaign donors to represent the state in litigation against the industry—a move which sparked critical headlines across the state.
Over the last three weeks, major newspapers across Louisiana published a slew of editorials and columns calling on the governor to make good on his ethics pledge and stop the system of good ol’ boy government that seems to be flourishing under his Administration. Many citizens have raised concerns about cronyism and political patronage as well.
Rather than working to resolve these issues, it seems the governor is doubling down on his flawed attempt to hire private lawyers to attack Louisiana’s energy industry.
Last week, he sent letters to parish officials across South Louisiana basically demanding they file more lawsuits then held a press conference to announce his plans to sue oil and gas companies directly if parishes don’t. And when asked about the controversy surrounding his hand-picked legal team, the governor said, “I’ve got the team that I intend to use, and it’s not even open for discussion that I’m going in a different direction.”
So it is clear, the Edwards Administration’s war on energy will continue, which amounts to another de-facto moratorium on drilling. The Administration is ignoring warnings from stakeholders that the continuation of these misguided lawsuits could drive many more companies into bankruptcy precisely when thousands of workers in Louisiana have been laid off.
Just as we did in the aftermath of the Obama’s drilling moratorium, we should come together and rally against Edwards’ de-factor moratorium that will result from this unnecessary litigation. We must protect Louisiana’s oil and gas industry and the families who depend on these well paying jobs, before it is too late.